|Let's face it, you cannot expect a supplement to build muscle on it's own but if there was a completely natural agent that promotes lean mass and strength gains by +100% that would be awesome, right? Well, what if phosphatidic acid was this agent?|
"Strength & lean mass? Now, we're talking!"
Now that I got your full attention let's briefly take a look at the protocol, the intricate details of which - I must forewarn you - I am not yet familiar with, simply because a corresponding paper has not yet been published. Based on the summary that came with the poster, I can tell you, though, that we are dealing with something looking very similar to what some of you may be actually doing in the gym:
- total length of the study: 8 weeks
- training sessions per: 2x hypertrophy oriented, 1x strength
The changes in body composition were evaluated by DEXA scans, which were corroborated by measurement the circumference of the rectus femoris, the development of the one-repetition max strength (1RM) and the anaerobic power of the participants prior and following the 8 week training intervention.
|Figure 1: Significant effects of the addition of PA (750mg/day) on muscle size, mass and strength (Joy. 2013)|
- for CSA, in which the EXP group increased (+1.01 cm², ES = 0.92) to a greater extent than the CON group (+0.61 cm², ES = 0.52)
- for LBM, in which the EXP group (+2.4 kg, ES = 0.42) doubled the effects of resistance training alone (CON +1.2 kg, ES = 0.26), and
- for leg press 1RM, in which the EXP group increased to a greater extent (+52.0 kg, ES = 1.2) than the CON group (+32.5 kg, ES = 0.78)
"Ok, where are the 'on the other hands'? "
I see, as a "healthy skeptic" you are rightly asking yourself about the potential downsides. I mean, greater mass and strength gains and fat loss? Sounds like a dream come true... well, human research in this area is still in it's infancy, but according to poster #2 the scientists presented at the ISSN, ill health effects don't appear to be among the downsides, as there were
"[...] no differences at baseline in blood chemistry and hematology between the CON and EXP supplemented groups [...] no differences were observed in urinalysis values between the groups" (Dudeck. 2013)Furthermore, the underlying mechanism, i.e. the potent stimulation of the mTOR pathway, was confirmed in an in-vitro analysis with human muscle cells (Gundermann. 2013) and the oral bioavailability was confirmed and quantified in study #3 (Purpura. 2013).
|Table 1: Training protocol and amino acid content (in g/100g) of the post- workout supplement in the previous study (learn more).|
Before you get all too psyched up, you should however keep in mind that the study at hand used a realistic training protocol and strength trained individuals, but it did not use what every trainee uses to boost his mTOR response after a workout: whey protein! In a conversation with one of the authors, I found out that the subjects ingested a collagen protein (amino acid composition see table from a previous study on the right) the researchers picked to isolate the effects of PA on mTOR independent of the mTOR boosting effects of leucine. Yet although it goes without saying that the results could well have been different and the impressive results would lose their significance, only a follow up study will tell whether this is going to be the case or not.
- Dudeck JE, Joy JM, Lowery RP, De Souza EO, Jäger R, McCleary SA, Wilson SMC, Purpura M, Wilson JM. Safety of Soy-Derived Phosphatidic Acid Supplementation in Healthy Young Males.Poster presentation at the ISSN Conference 2013.
- Joy JM, Lowery RP, Dudeck JE, De Souza EO, Jäger R, McCleary SA, Wilson SMC, Purpura M, Wilson JM. Phosphatidic Acid Supplementation Increases Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy and Strength. Poster presentation at the ISSN Conference 2013.
- Purpura M, Jäger R, Joy JM, Lowery RP, Moore JD, Wilson JM. Effect of Oral Administration of Soy-Derived Phosphatidic Acid on Concentrations of Phosphatidic Acid and lyso-Phosphatidic Acid Molecular Species in Human Plasma Poster presentation at the ISSN Conference 2013.